Wing Chun Part 3
3. Practical Aspect of Wing Chun Gung fu
PLEASE NOTE: I am not in the least bit concerned
with whether the personal thoughts offered below, “agree”
with current representations and assertions of Wing Chun
that I had been sadly obliged to observe, when curious to see
how the subject is rendered on the Internet.
The Internet, for me, is NOT a place to go (generally speaking)
to search for reliable, competent, mature and experienced advice.
An example: I had lost count of the number of times that “sifu’s”
demonstrated a movement and commented that
it was a ‘very effective means of blocking’.
I was shown by a school-friend, in 1976,
whose father was a gentle man … I will stand by the instruction,
explanations, and gentility exhibited by those two folks –
over Anything that I had seen on the Internet:
“A very effective means of blocking” … ???
In Wing Chun, there IS NO ‘blocking’.
Wing Chun diverts or re-directs an attack.
It does not “block”.
I am not a thug;
and am not interested in what modern thugs are saying.
If thoughts here differ from The Internet
then I confess to being quite content to have it so.
The use of physics in Wing Chun, is evident:
The ‘sheep clamping stance’ [ Yi Ji Kim Yeung Ma ] of Wing Chun
forms a triangular shape where the centre of a practitioner’s gravity
is in the centre of the triangle.
The stance lowers one’s centre of gravity
while providing a near-perfect compromise between
being stable, and being able to move quickly.
This stance offers a lower centre of gravity and, therefore,
increased stability when under attack.
Structure is carefully thought out:
The body remains vertical –
Do not lean to the side.
Do not lean forward.
Do not lean backward:
Do not tense the muscles.
The shoulders are lowered – never raised.
The elbows are ordinarily kept down.
Movement is by shuffling.
One shuffle brings both legs forward: the centre of balance is never lost.
Weight is never predominantly on the front-most leg.
Never stand in an assailant’s centre-line: step aside,
divert the incoming strike, and strike the attacker.
The hips must be kept forward in order to allow a step forward (if pushed),
or back, (if pulled).
The punch is delivered from the vertical:
there is no propelling one’s upper body ‘into’ a punch as
forward force will result in overbalance … if I miss,
I will certainly fall forward.
The stance – rotated on the heels by 45 degrees,
provides exceptional stability
with the majority of weight on the rear-most foot,
and the body instantly ready to advance if required.
With leverage, a smaller force can divert a larger force.
The force in Wing Chun is delivered from the ground up: through ankle,
knee; the drive is with the hip – then to shoulder, elbow … and wrist,
which delivers the actual ‘whip lash’ of power.
In Wing Chun, the movement of the body works in harmony:
the shoulder to hips; elbow to knees; and wrists to ankles.
There is no ‘blocking’ in Wing Chun: an assailant’s strikes are re-directed
which diverts the force away from the centre-line.
To divert an incoming strike is to ‘receive’.
Any contact blow from an attacker may be partially absorbed
by rotating the hip to lessen the shock;
the hip is then reapplied to deliver counter-thrust
and power a punch to the attacker’s centre line.
Diverting a strike, as well as an offensive counter,
are delivered simultaneously.
The hands will always strike or re-direct towards one’s own centreline.
The PUNCH [ Da – to strike ]
Strike only when there is an opportunity.
Strike (as much as possible) on a level, horizontal plane.
The power in a Wing Chun punch
comes from proper stance, the waist, and Speed.
The entire body works together in unison.
In Wing Chun, the fist is held vertically.
This provides least antagonistic muscle resistance
while still delivering maximum force.
The body is positioned behind the arm,
the elbow maintains the centre line.
The punch is delivered at shoulder height
in order to leave no excessive ‘opening’ in the upper or lower gate.
The wrist will lead the shoulder:
the shoulder does NOT push the wrist.
Punch as to strike the central CORE of the attacker.
The wrist ‘screws’ the force into the attacker’s central core.
The shoulders are never raised.
Power is launched at the beginning of a punch:
not at the point of impact.
The thrust of the punch occurs from shoulder to elbow.
Focus is on the elbow.
The elbow is a “hinge” and does not supply force.
It will be ordinarily positioned downward,
and no more than a hand-breadth from the centre-line.
( One will find illustration by picturing the bar
that dries the wheels on a steam locomotive:
forward, circles, and returns in a straight path underneath. )
The hand does not form a fist until immediately before impact,
upon which, the hand is immediately relaxed once again.
To tighten the muscles into a fist restricts speed.
The nearer to the centre-line an attacker is struck,
the more force is delivered, and the more he will endure.
The hips must face the centre-line of the attacker
if the punch is to deliver maximum power.
A successful punch will collapse the assailant.
( May I suggest that the Okinawan Kara te tradition of
slamming the fist into a bucket of gravel, striking a large stone.
or any such other method of “toughening” the bones,
will be successful in developing arthritis –
and achieve little else of genuine value?
It is, I believe, something to consider. )
Kicks are delivered at close quarters, to the ‘lower gate’ of an assailant:
the knees, shins, top of foot, or instep
in order to disable any size of attacker.
There are no ballet-quality performances of arcing kicks to
an assailant’s head, for instance.
In Wing Chun, one does not withdraw the leg after delivering a kick.
The foot is placed down and advance is made from there.
Jie Gerk – Front Kick
Wan Gerk – Side Kick
Several Hands in Wing Chun
Purpose: Vital and vulnerable areas are on the centre-line:
If I occupy my centre-line, an attacker’s aggression cannot.
The intent is to divert (defend) and strike (attack) simultaneously
in order to prevent an assailant from potentially taking my life.
Tan Sau – Dispersing Hand … Spiralling outward whilst being raised,
the Tan Sau redirects an incoming strike using the outside of my arm …
as my arm lifts, I rotate my wrist thumb side out,
which obliges the attacker’s force to travel around my forearm;
my forearm and wrist travel over the assailant’s arm.
Wu Sau – Protecting Hand … in raised position
to divert any incoming punch, or strike (as needed).
A very good ‘general’ hand as it may be readily moved
and adapted to any situation.
Huen Sau – Circling Hand … to move around an assailant’s wrist
to the other side of his forearm which will serve to release from an attacker’s grip
… elbow will not move … Movement is around the wrist: not the shoulder.
The forearm is part of the circular motion.
Pak Sau – Clapping Hand … Never to ‘push’ incoming strike away,
but to divert it out and past my body … contact assailant’s upper forearm area;
(ground firmly, as when pushing a heavy door)
Fak Sau – Chopping Hand … Practiced in Sui Lim Tau
Used for defence against an assailant who is not positioned in the centre line.
Alternate to Man Sau.
Man Sau – Asking Hand … used to counter a downward strike
delivered from at-or-above the head level.
Lan Sau – Barring (or, Barrier-forming) ‘Lifting’ Hand.
Fook Sa – Covering Hand … Practiced in Sui Lim Tau:
The heel of the palm contacts attacker’s forearm and presses down.
The elbow is kept in and down; thumb will be at my centre-line,
little finger will rotate up and inward, which will
redirect incoming strike from my centreline.
Mechanics are in the wrist: not shoulder.
Gum Sau – Pressing Hand is used to divert kicks and low punches;
effective in pinning an assailant’s hands;
one must not linger as delay will leave one’s mid- and upper-areas open to attack.
Lap Sau – Grasping Hand … using a sloth grip … grab a door handle and sharply pull;
turning my hand rolls it down the attacker’s forearm: when my palm touches his hand,
I grip and move the hand downward: this guides his punch.
Mechanics are in the wrist, not the shoulder.
When an attacker grips, one does not resist:
resistance gives his superior strength a place to apply force
and, so, control me.
Gaun Sau – Low Gate Sweeping Hand effective in protecting the ribs
by diverting hooking punch strikes.
Employed as an ‘open scissors’ hinged at the elbow,
it will absorb incoming kicks.
Gum Sau – Pinning Hand … Practiced in Siu Lim Tau
is used to pin an assailant’s arm.
Pie Jarn – Hacking Elbow of Chum Kiu
Jum Sau – using the inside forearm to divert incoming punch
yet apply striking force to the assailant.
Jut Sau – Sinking Hand … to divert strikes from high centreline
if elbow is below level of wrist;
similar to Pak Sao, but using inside wrist
Biu Sau – Thrusting Hand [ Biu Jee – Thrusting Fingers ] … to divert an attack
at shoulder height or above; or to strike an assailant’s neck or eyes.
Kop Sau – Downward Hand … Practiced in Chum Kiu second form.
Kwan Sau – Rotating Arm … used to extricate from an attacker’s strike..
Bong Sau – Wing Arm … To facilitate release if one’s wrists are held.
Movement is almost as if looking at a wrist-watch …
A Tan Sao, but rotating the upper arm towards assailant’s centre-line,
while moving the wrist forward and turning from the waist to redirect an incoming strike.
(Not recommended to meet a strike.)
The wrist actually ‘meets’ the primary force, whilst the waist turn redirects it.
Bong Sau must never be positioned across one’s centre-line.
Lin Wan Kuen – Chain Punching
Siu Nim Tao – Rudimentary methodology; Principles of Body Structure;
(The “Little Ideas” of Wing Chun).
Chum Kiu – (Seeking a Connection) Application – Putting Principles into Motion:
Searching for opportunity, timing, and coordination in order to bridge an assailant’s attack.
The generation of power through the pelvis is now added to the techniques
that were introduced in Siu Nim Tao.
Biu Jee – To hurl the pointing finger: Delivering Power upon Contact;
in effect, putting the technique and power of the previous forms, into motion.
Looking ahead: One does not see a surprisal – (a grab, for instance) –
but, rather, the way out of it.
For me, this is the evident purpose of Biu Ji:
how to get out of an unexpected situation.
Muk Jong – The Wooden Man … is made of wood precisely to indicate
that it is NOT a punching bag. Nor is it a Makiwara to ‘toughen’ the hands.
The action on the Wooden Man consists more of a push, than a punch.
Punch this, and you will break a finger.
“Gong fu” or Gung fu … the term means proficiency gained with persistence
over a prolonged period of time.
Wing Chun, for me, has been a wonderful lifestyle
that has enriched my health and mind-set.
For those who may be curious about this particular aspect of Chinese history,
I hope that the brief introduction provided here
has been of interest to one or two folk.
[ P Livingstone ]